The National Association of Realtors just released pending home sales figures for March. Sales rose 5.1%, topping expectations for a 1.5% gain (though last month's result was revised down to +0.7%). Sales also remain 11.5% lower than they were this time a year earlier. By region, the South was the strongest with a gain of 10.3% on the month, followed by the West at 3.1% and the Midwest at 3%. The Northeast showed a decline of 3.2%.
Like the other housing reports we've seen, the pending sales report continues to show weakness, although conditions did improve somewhat from February. Buyers simply lack a catalyst to bid aggressively for homes, keeping overall activity subdued.